Magniflex, with a $24K mattress, hopes 2,000-sq.-ft. Soho unit will herald more
NEW YORK — Magniflex, Italy’s biggest bedding producer, takes a big step here next week when it opens its first U.S. store in Manhattan’s trendy Soho district. If it does well, more could follow here and in key markets across the country.
The company’s unique assortment of mattresses, some of which are covered with exotic ticking fashioned from gold and silver fibers, brings a fresh offering to the U.S. bedding scene, company officials believe.
“We have comfort you can’t find in the U.S.,” said Marco Magni, global sales director, who has traveled extensively in the United States and will be on hand for the debut of the store here. “We are doing something different.”
In an interview at company headquarters in Prato, Italy, a suburb of Florence, Magni admitted Magniflex faces a big test in the U.S. market.
“The United States is a very strategic market,” said Magni, one of three brothers who together run the company, founded over 50 years ago. “If you can succeed in the U.S., you can succeed anywhere in the world. It’s a very strong challenge. We will see if we are good enough or not. For an Italian company to sell overseas is not easy, and it is something to be proud about.”
About 20 million people in 45 countries sleep on Magniflex mattresses; 80% of its output is exported. Key international markets include Japan, Spain, Germany and Russia.
The company believes the time is right to bring its better sleep message to this country. A successful launch in Soho could bring additional Manhattan stores, said Magni, a son of the company’s founder. Other cities he said offer potential are Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The launch of the 2,000-square-foot U.S. store has meant a major effort for Magniflex. Magni is spending about one-third of his time in the United States. “It’s a market that needs someone who can transmit our philosophy,” he said. “We have so many SKUs. We can’t do a catalog with everything.”
The store here will feature eight of the company’s leading mattresses, including the new GeoEthic, a soy-based organic mattress. Retails for mattresses generally are from $1,299 to $3,999 in queen.
A full range of Italian linens under the Casa Poggesi brand will be offered. That company is headed by Italian-born David Poggesi of Florence, whose family has been in the textile business for decades. He said Poggesi offers “the sophistication of old world elegance with the energy of modern ideas.”
Magni said the companies are a good fit, adding, “We match in terms of quality and philosophy. We both believe in the ‘Made in Italy’ message, and we are both meticulous about quality.”
Based in the heart of the picturesque Tuscan countryside, Magniflex can produce up to 10,000 mattresses a day at its sprawling factory. The beds are vacuum packed for shipment around the world, using a technology the company developed in the 1980s. The beds are reduced in size by 90% and sealed in a packaging film that keeps them clean.
U.S. consumers, particularly those whose living quarters might pose delivery challenges, should welcome the sealed and rolled mattresses, Magniflex officials said. Once the beds are opened, they take only a few minutes to regain their original shape and volume, according to the company.
Magniflex makes mostly foam bedding, with an eclectic mix of products topped by the flagship, $24,000 retail, 22-carat gold model, which has a matching 22-carat gold pillow retailing at $1,000.
The company’s Memofoam visco-elastic technology is said to relieve pressure faster than competitors’ models, using weight sensitivity rather than body heat to provide conformity. And its Airyform technology allows for better air circulation, promoting a cooler sleep surface, the company said.
Magniflex entered the U.S. market last year, but takes a new step with its store at 59 Crosby Street here. The grand opening is set for May 17. The company already operates stores in Tokyo, Dubai and Florence, and will open another soon in Singapore.
The company has a major retail presence in Italy, with 45 Materassi & Materassi (Mattresses & Mattresses) stores, most operated by franchisees. By the end of next year, the company hopes to have 100 stores in Italy.
Magniflex’s U.S. dealer network is being developed by Henry Burney and Irwin Pearl, two U.S. sales veterans. They have a dozen U.S. sales representatives to build the brand.
Source: David Perry